Interviews

Monica Ali interview

Monica Ali did not intend to produce her new novel Alentejo Blue. The acclaimed author of Brick Lane had quite another book in mind when she sat down to write the follow-up to her stunning debut.

Kate Mosse: hunting the grail

When Kate Mosse first sat down to write her third novel, Labyrinth, she knew it would be about the Grail legend, the mysterious source of a thousand quests since King Arthur’s legendary knights rode out in the Middle Ages.

Children’s author: Alan Gibbons

Alan Gibbons laughs. It is a big, unselfconscious guffaw: the laugh of a man who feels like the luckiest man alive, thanks to a job that takes him into a place many would fear to tread – the minds of teenagers

Chris Humphreys: Absolute proof

Like Jack, there is no front about him, just a genuine enthusiasm for life as “one of the luckiest men on earth” able to indulge his passion for history and gift for writing by creating a vivid world of blood and battles, bad girls and blackguards that leaps off the page

AA Gill: the Angry Scot

The book pulls back the net curtains to reveal the naked rage we English try to disguise with everything from jokes and gardening to animals and alcohol. It is as surprising and touching as it is amusing and splenetic – as one would expect from one of Britain’s leading cultural commentators.

Children’s author: Sally Gardner

Storytelling saved Sally Gardner, the bright and passionate author of the novel I, Coriander. As a child she was bumped from school to school, at one point ending up at an institution for maladjusted children straight out of Dickens because neither her teachers nor parents could understand why such a clever girl, with an obvious love of books and words, could not read. It was the 1960s and she was dyslexic, a condition that had yet to be recognised.

Ian Rankin: gets quizzed

DI John Rebus does not always see the softer side of Scotland, which is why his creator crime writer Ian Rankin wanted to show his the place is not all murder and mystery in Rebus’s Scotland, he tells Danuta Kean.

Gerald Scarfe: Sticking the pen in

Gerald Scarfe, whose needle sharp caricatures have burst many an inflated ego, learned a valuable lesson early in his career about portraits and propaganda. The experience bears fruit this autumn in a book that has already created headlines in the gossip columns.

Ewan McGregor: Zen and the art of motorcycling

The hardest thing faced by Hollywood actor Ewan McGregor about his forthcoming road trip with best buddie and fellow actor Charley Boorman, will be getting off his BMW motorbike and taking a cup of tea. But it is vital they do, says Boorman, not least because the trip will make very dull reading otherwise.

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